Premises liability cases are based on the negligence or wrongdoing of the owner of the property. That means a property owner who has not maintained their property according to acceptable safety standards can be held liable for any injury or death on their property.
If you are injured due to the negligence or wrongdoing of the property owner, you could file a personal injury lawsuit, also known as a premises liability lawsuit. Our attorneys at the Law Offices of Brown & Gessell will be glad to represent you in court.
What is Premises Liability?
According to California law, all property owners must maintain a safe property and limit any potential hazards that could cause harm to visitors. Premises liability applies to property owners who fail to comply with federal and state requirements for keeping their property safe and secure.
All landowners have the legal duty to follow standards of care in maintaining their property. Whether the property owner is liable for the injury does not depend on whether the person is invited onto the property or is a trespasser. There are exceptions to liability of a trespasser if the trespasser is found to have committed a statutorily defined felony.
Examples of Premises Liability
Slip and Fall Cases
Slip and fall accidents are among the most common reasons for filing a premises liability claim. A slip and fall accident, also known as a “trip and fall” accident, could be caused by several reasons, including slippery floors, broken hand railings, or faulty stairs. For example, if the staircase or floor is covered with snow or water, it can be a potential hazard for any person on the property. Slip and fall accidents can also occur near swimming pools and trampolines due to a lack of safety measures. Slip and fall accidents often occur when a store owner fails to monitor and clean up spills. The person injured in this accident can sue the property owner for negligence.
Injuries Caused by Domestic Animals
If a person sustains injuries because another person’s pet attacked them, they can sue the owner. For example, if a person gets injured due to a dog bite, they can sue the owner. Dog bite cases are usually strict liability and do not require proof of negligence.
If someone is injured on the premises due to a lack of maintenance, such as a defective staircase or any other structural failure, they can sue for the damages sustained. For example, not having rails on the stairs can count as a lack of safety measures to protect the visitor. If the building does not follow the standard building codes, it can be a safety violation. Any injury sustained by another person due to the unsafe structure could lead to a premises liability lawsuit.
An electrical failure can cause fires that result in burn injuries. So, if someone is injured on the premises due to improper wiring and the lack of electrical maintenance, the property owner can be held liable for negligence.
Inadequate security could lead to a guest getting robbed or assaulted on the property. Any injury sustained by another person on a property due to a lack of security can be enough for a premises liability claim.
Mildew is a form of fungus that can cause respiratory problems, if inhaled. Mildew and mold usually grow on damp surfaces. If a property owner is aware of the dangerous condition, and failed to take corrective actions, he or she could be held liable for this negligence.
Who is Responsible for a Premises Liability Claim in California?
In most states, property owners are responsible for the maintenance of the property. Any injuries or deaths caused by negligence or wrongdoing may result in fines and jail time. In California, the liability in a premises liability lawsuit varies depending on the circumstances. Homeowners, business owners, companies, tenants, and commercial property owners can be held liable in these personal injury lawsuits.
If an injury occurs on a government property such as an educational institution, the statute of limitations for filing a premises liability lawsuit against a public office holder is different than the statute of limitations for filing against commercial or private property owners. Often, such liability requires the filing of a government code claim that precedes a civil complaint and is a shorter time frame than the statute of limitations.
How is Fault Determined in a Premises Liability Claim?
Successful premises liability cases require evidence to prove that the property owner breached their duty of care. The plaintiff needs to also establish harms and losses that make up the total compensation for sustained injuries.
In addition, the plaintiff might need to get surveillance footage and witness statements to back up their claim. Documentation of the injuries holds the utmost importance in premises liability cases.
Proving liability in these cases can be complicated because the defendant may dispose of evidence, such as building maintenance records or surveillance footage. This requires prompt and strategic efforts to prevent the destruction of such evidence.
A jury and court may consider many factors in determining premises liability or fault, including whether the property owner knew about the potential hazard and had enough time to fix the issue.
Fires, explosions resulting from electrical failures, or a fatal slip and fall accident can result in the victim’s death. If that happens, it turns the premises liability case into a wrongful death case.
Discuss Your Case with a California Premises Liability Attorney Today
Several factors need to be considered in a premises liability case, so you can benefit from having an experienced attorney on your side. An attorney who is well-versed in the statute of limitations and state laws regarding premises liability can help you with the legal proceedings of the case. In addition, experienced premises liability lawyers can help you prove the property owner’s liability to obtain full and fair compensation. Schedule a consultation with us at the Law Offices of Brown & Gessell and tell us about your case.